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Language and Writing
1978 Volume I

Introduction

On a series of uniformly muggy summer afternoons, twelve dedicated and passionate New Haven teachers sat around a table to wrestle with their comnon problems. On each of those occasions, one or two teachers presented their work in progress for the scrutiny of the others; to describe the resulting discussions as extraordinary seems inadequate: they were wideranging, free-swinging, eye-opening, and soul-baring. As the following units will reveal, no synthesis or consensus emerged from these sessions; indeed, many of the differences in theory and practice between the participants may now be more sharply defined and more deeply felt than they were in June. But I can state confidently as the seminar leader that the marks and dents of all that vigorous shop-talk are visible on every unit. And I can make one last appearance in my role as mediator by alleging that each of these units will work for its author and other similar teachers. They are different because schools are different, because student groupings and goals are different, but most importantly because these teachers are different in their goals, in their attitudes toward language and the process called education, in their politics, in their classroom Styles. That teachers so different could come together not only in seminars but in this booklet, with all of their differences showing so openly and honestly, is a source of no small satisfaction to me as their leader.

James A. Winn

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